Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Sign on My Wall

So I am a single person who lives alone and has no guests to her home. 

Think about that for a moment. 

If that was you, what would your house look like? 

The answer is simple.  It would be whatever, for the most part, you feel comfortable in.  Whatever level of cleanliness or or disarray where you felt comfortable.  This doesn't mean that the WHOLE house would be some place you'd feel comfortable, but certainly the places where you spent time would be. 

This may mean you've ended up restricting yourself to a single room to live in, despite having more space in which to live. 

It may not. 

But let's face it.  If no-one is there to see the dirty dishes, is it really imperative that you wash them?  Immediately, I mean.. I'm not talking about putting dirty dishes back in the cupboards or anything silly like that. 

And as a single gal, I'll admit there are some clothes that deserve a "special" load and therefore have remained at the bottom of the hamper for months.  Maybe even a year.  This was even more so when I didn't have a washer and dryer of my own which are recent additions to my household.  I wasn't spending $3.50 a load for just a few items I rarely wore (well, maybe that's because I didn't wash them, but, dog chasing tail ... ) when I had plenty of other suitable clothes TO wear. 

When I got the washer and dryer, I admit, I gathered all the loose laundry and pulled it all into the back room (which was the mud room/pantry/storage area, and now is also the laundry room) and did a considerable amount of it.  So now, instead of being at the bottom of my hamper (although there are a few items still in there, too) there are a few items still sitting in a pile on the floor in the - shall we call it - multipurpose room. 

Why make my bed if no-one is going to see it?

My point is (yes, I do have one or two, I think...) that it is easy when you are single and living alone in your own secluded environment to get lazy about the social niceties of housework that others who share their homes might take more seriously.  Plus, let's face it, I go through dishes much less quickly than a family of four...

For me, there have been a variety of factors that have led me to my standard of cleanliness.  The first is that my mother was never quite the steadfast housekeeper herself.  I remember her getting mad at me when I touched the credenza in the front hall and disturbed the perfectly uniform layer of dust. (I really wish I was kidding...)  I was only required to clean my room twice a year, and I strongly do NOT recommend this for any parents.  Help your kids learn how to clean their rooms and get into the habit of keeping things tidy.  It really isn't that hard.  When you're a kid.  An ounce of prevention, my friends. 

The second, I recognize fully, is that I do not have these habits developed.  And I can - and do - blame my ADD for this.  :)  And there are some areas of tidiness / cleanliness that I really do have some big ADD walls about (and I could expound on that but I'll spare you in this entry), but the reality is that there is a lot about my environment that I *am* capable of keeping up, maintaining, and tidying.  And for those areas, what often prevents me - lacking a sense of urgency or need - is simply habits. 

We'll use my car as an example.  At one point, I set it as a goal to make sure that when I came in the house every time, I'd make sure I emptied the car, leaving only the things that belonged in the car regularly in the car.  It wasn't too difficult - particularly if I did it every time because really there was only whatever I'd brought in the car.  Now mind you, getting that stuff past the living room floor is another issue, but really maintenance on a habit like that is fairly easy.  And it doesn't take that much extra time.

The other day I came home from Sam's Club (thank you all for joining me).  And I do admit that there was rain that I can use as an excuse, but the reality was that I was feeling lazy.  So I calculated what exactly did I *need* to bring in at that moment - what was perishable or wouldn't be happy later when the car heated up with the sun.  And what did I want to eat immediately!! ;) And I only brought in that.  The rice is still sitting in the back of the car.  Along with some spaghetti. 

Why? Why would I do that?  What was so important that I needed a few extra moments in my home that I couldn't take those moments to bring that stuff in?  I have no idea.  And I can't tell you that the spaghetti sauce that I *did* bring in has made it to the kitchen from the living room couch.  How hard is that? I have no idea. 

I am a BIG fan of FlyLady.  In theory.  But one of their main points is that you didn't get in this situation (they call it CHAOS - Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) overnight, and you're not going to get out of it overnight.  And they're about creating habits.  And making change incrementally.  They're quite wonderful, and I wonder if when they're done getting me getting my house together, if they'd get the rest of my life together, too?

Oh, wait, they will.  Because let's face it.  If you have what it takes to maintain the daily habits to keep your home in order, you have what it takes to maintain the daily habits to keep your life in order.

Or at least that's what I'm gambling on...

So my contract is coming to an end sometime after this week. All I know is this is my last full week. And I'm a little bit anxious.  I'm also in a surprisingly good and positive mood, and I'm not going to fight that.  I'm going to try and hold onto it and build it.  Positive begets positive, I hope.  :)

But one of the things I'm nervous about is losing one other area of structure.  Of needing to be so frugal I get stuck in the house doing nothing but watching television on the Internet because that costs me nothing more than the Internet connection I'm already paying.  (Who decided that the Internet is SOOOO important (well it is) that it has to be CAPITALIZED? Yes, I'm doing spell check.. Carry on...)   I am nervous that I might easily slip into a really bad depression, and sink even further than I have.

Guess what?  Good news! I don't want that. 

So, I plan intentionally on trying to put more structure in my day and in my life and in my household.  Even if it isn't "urgent", even if the world won't fall apart if that pan that is in my sink doesn't get washed tonight, I am going to begin setting new standards for my life.  Not inflexible ones, but new habits that are easy to maintain.  And slowly, but surely and incrementally, begin to pull myself out of this quicksand and get myself and my life and my household in order.

FlyLady's first step is to clean your sink every night.  It always seems silly to me, so even though I think steps two, and three and on are worthwhile, I always get lost on the sink.  Tonight, with a black sharpie and blue painter's masking tape, I created a sign I put above my light switch in my bedroom ('cuz when you're single and have no guests in your home you can decorate in classy ways like this) that says: "Before I go to bed at night, I will clean my sink!"

Ask me how it's going... help me stay accountable. ;)  Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a pan in my sink I need to go wash.


  1. I like that idea... and it's probably something I should employ also...

    but oh wait... it's the internet.. it's calling me back!

    1. Good news, then. They're on the internet. Go to ;)